Sheldon Keefe addressed the media after the Maple Leafs’ 3-2 loss to the New York Islanders which dropped the team’s record to 25-15-8.
On the team’s performance:
We played well enough to win the game, but we did just enough to lose. That is why you lose games.
On his frustration about the power-play unit losing track of the penalty expiring, allowing Kyle MacLean to spring free for a breakaway goal against, at this point in the season:
It has nothing to do with the point in the year. This is the National Hockey League. That is peewee stuff.
It has nothing to do with the season or anything like that. If you play on the power play in the NHL, they should not get behind you coming out of the penalty box.
On losing the game on a late turnover:
As I said, we played well enough to win the game, but we did just enough to lose. The second and third goals are gifts. You can’t give gifts when the goalie is playing the way that he is at the other end. Goals are so hard to come by. You battle your way back to tie the game. You can’t do that — not if you want to win games.
On whether the rest played a role in the sloppy mistakes:
No. Both teams were doing the same thing.
On the penalty kill’s two-for-two game without David Kampf:
I thought we did fine with that. Willy did a good job for us in the faceoff circle when we needed him to. We had back-to-back penalties close together there. It was hard. You don’t have a lot of PKers today. You are experimenting with some guys and trying some different things. We got through that.
On Simon Benoit’s hit on Mat Barzal drawing a penalty that led to a 4-on-4 goal:
It is huge. To me, it is a game-changing opportunity. We scored right out of it on the 4-on-4 portion of it. The power play had an opportunity to really make its stamp on the game, we don’t get that, and then we give the one up coming out of the box.
It was a great effort by Benoit to put our people in a great spot to take hold of the game. Aside from the fact that we scored the goal immediately after, if the power play comes through… That was disappointing.
The power play comes through at a critical time when we needed it [in the third period], but you can’t give them what we gave them there to lose the game.
On Matthew Knies’ performance:
I thought he had more jump today. He got better as the game wore on. I was looking at changing some things on that line, but we stayed with it. The third period was his best period. He made some really good plays and was in on the forecheck. The one where Auston hit a couple of posts was Knies making a play there for him. That was good.
In terms of the details of the game that might slip when you spend a week away, it should be made up for by energy and enthusiasm. Specific to Knies, I thought he got better as the game wore on. He seemed to have a little extra energy in the third period.
We had to lean on our top guys a lot tonight as they were doing it on the other side. With guys out of the lineup tonight, your depth takes a hit. Barzal was playing a lot tonight, and when he was out there, he was in control of things for the most part.
Especially when I was trying to get a mismatch somewhere else with our guys, if it wasn’t Matthews against Barzal, the ice was tilted in the wrong direction. We ended up having to lean on our guys a lot as a result of some of those top-end guys.